Groundwater Sustainability Plans
The Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) requires local public agencies and Groundwater Sustainability Agencies (GSAs) in high- and medium-priority basins to develop and implement Groundwater Sustainability Plans (GSPs) or Alternatives to GSPs. GSPs are detailed road maps for how groundwater basins will reach long term sustainability.
The Department of Water Resources (DWR) has developed and launched the SGMA Portal, an online tool, for the submission of GSPs, per Water Code §10733.4 and the GSP Emergency Regulations §353.2. GSPs for critically overdrafted high- and medium-priority basins are due to DWR by January 31, 2020. GSPs for the remaining high- and medium-priority basins are due to DWR by January 31, 2022.
Although local public agencies in basins designated as low and very-low priority are not subject to SGMA, we encourage them to form GSAs and develop GSPs, update existing groundwater management plans, or coordinate with others to develop a new groundwater management plan in accordance with Water Code Section 10750 et seq. More information can be found on the Non-SGMA Groundwater Information page.
Information on alternatives can found on the new alternatives web page.
The Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) requires groundwater sustainability agencies (GSAs) to submit annual reports to DWR each April 1 following adoption of a groundwater sustainability plan (GSP). GSP annual reports will provide information on groundwater conditions and implementation of the plan for the prior water year. DWR has prepared information and answers to frequently asked questions on the 2020 GSP annual reports in the following document:
DWR has developed downloadable templates for reporting basinwide data. These data templates are required to be submitted with the GSP Annual Report. Each of the spreadsheets has a built-in set of instructions. Users can access the spreadsheets using the following links:
- Annual Report Elements Guide
- Groundwater Extraction Data Template
- Groundwater Extraction Methods Data Template
- Surface Water Supply Data Template
- Total Water Use Data Template
Other monitoring data will be submitted using the SGMA Portal’s Monitoring Network Module, which is the same system agencies used when submitting data for their original GSP. Instruction on use of the Monitoring Network Module is available here:
If you have any other questions about GSP annual reports, you can email GSPSubmittal@water.ca.gov.
Prior to initiating the development of a Groundwater Sustainability Plan (GSP), a Groundwater Sustainability Agency (GSA) shall make available to the public and the Department a written description of the manner in which interested parties may participate in the development and implementation of the GSP. The Department's GSP Emergency Regulations require an initial notification per §353.6(a):
"Each Agency (GSA) shall notify the Department, in writing, prior to initiating development of a Plan (GSP). The notification shall provide general information about the GSA’s process for developing the GSP, including the manner in which interested parties may contact the GSA and participate in the development and implementation of the GSP. The GSA shall make the information publicly available by posting relevant information on the GSA’s website."
In accordance with Water Code §10727.8, GSAs are required to provide the GSP initial notification written statement to the legislative body of any city, county, or city and county, located within the geographic area to be covered by the GSP to coordinate land use and water management planning. In addition, if the geographic area to be covered by the GSP includes a public water system regulated by the Public Utilities Commission, the GSA shall provide the written statement to the commission.
Related to the GSP initial notification is a “maintenance of interested persons list” which is described in Water Code §10723.4. A GSA is required to establish a list of persons interested in receiving notices – any person may request, in writing, to be placed on the list of interested persons. Also, GSAs are required to encourage the active involvement of diverse social, cultural, and economic elements of the population within the groundwater basin prior to and during the development and implementation of the GSP.
Beginning January 19, 2018, GSAs are required to submit all applicable GSP notification information to DWR using the SGMA Portal – GSP Initial Notification System.
If GSAs have questions about initial notifications, please contact the Regional Coordinators in DWR's four Regional Offices or DWR Headquaters in Sacramento:
GSPs submitted to DWR are available online on DWR’s SGMA Portal. DWR will post the plans within 20 days of submittal for public viewing. DWR’s posting starts a 75-day public comment period. Public comments are welcomed and encouraged - a SGMA Portal account is not necessary.
More information about how to comment on a plan can be found in a new set of frequently asked questions:
For GSAs which are currently preparing GSPs, DWR hosted two workshops and a webcast to provide an overview of the online GSP Reporting System in August 2019. The webcast is available below under Resources and Guidance.
Additional materials detailing the step-by-step process for submitting a GSP online through the GSP Reporting System can also be found below.
DWR and the State Water Resources Control Board have developed a fact sheet which provides an overview on submittal and evaluation of GSPs from critically overdrafted basins. The fact sheet provides information on the roles of both DWR and the State Water Board and a timeline of activities.
- Overview of Submittal and Evaluation of Groundwater Sustainability Plans in Critically Overdrafted Basins (English)
- Overview of Submittal and Evaluation of Groundwater Sustainability Plans in Critically Overdrafted Basins (Español)
DWR has developed three guidance documents, available below, to assist GSAs in submitting their adopted GSPs to the GSP Reporting System and identifying the GSP monitoring network in the Monitoring Network Module.
- GSP Reporting System and Monitoring Network Module User Manual
- GSP Reporting System Submittal Quick Guide
- GSP Reporting System Q&A
The DWR video of the Groundwater Sustainability Plan (GSP) Reporting System Workshop webcast will assist those submitting GSPs. It includes information on the updated SGMA Portal, provides an overview of the new online GSP Reporting System and Monitoring Network Module, and answers questions submitted during the live webcast. For questions regarding the webcast, please email GSPSubmittal@water.ca.gov.
Under Water Code Section 10733.2, DWR is required to draft and adopt emergency regulations for the evaluation of GSPs and Alternatives, the implementation of GSPs and Alternatives, and coordination agreements.
The GSP regulations were developed following a comprehensive, multi-phased public outreach and engagment process. Throughout 2015 and into 2016, DWR met regularly with numerous SGMA advisory groups and conducted public meetings and webinars to gather perspectives from other statewide stakeholders, partners, and local agencies. The input received was considered in the Draft GSP Emergency Regulations.
On May 18, 2016, the proposed GSP Emergency Regulations were presented to the California Water Commission for consideration of approval. The California Water Commission unanimously approved the proposed regulations, as written, and we submitted the Final GSP Emergency Regulations and the Notice of Proposed Emergency Rulemaking to the Office of Administrative Law